Over the years I have tried to track my writing in quite a number of ways. For the longest time I used an Excel spreadsheet, which had the virtue of simplicity. I tried a number of other apps and whatnot, but could not stick with any of them. Recently I discovered Nomie and it is so simple, I might just be able to make a habit of using it.
Nomie is a smartphone app, which is useful because I am glued to the phone to a much larger extent than I used to be back in the Excel spreadsheet days. It is an app simply for tracking occurrences by frequency. Once you set up the events you want to track, all it takes is a simple tap on your home screen to record each instance of them. For example, if you want to track how many coffees you drink each day, you just have to remember to tap the coffee button on your phone every time you enjoy a cup of brew. That said, I would be better off with a pen and a notebook next to my coffee machine.
I set up two types of Nomie trackers. One is a simple counting tracker I use each time I do a training session with my dogs. The other is a slider where I can record not only every writing session, but also the number of words I have written. So far this has been easy enough to do each time I finish a block of writing and it helps to keep me motivated.
When I first downloaded Nomie, my primary concern was with privacy. This is what Nomie’s website has to say at the moment:
“Nomie is offline and out of the clouds. Your data is stored on your device. (…) Nomie makes money by creating Cloud Apps for organizations who want to track internally with a centralized dashboard.”
“(…) I released an MVP of Nomie (called Mento at the time) – that stored everyones data in Firebase, a cloud database now owned by Google. The problem was people track INSANELY private things with Nomie. So much in fact that I started freaking out knowing NO ONE should have this data but the user. I completely shutdown the MVP, and rebuilt it for offline only, this was the birth of Nomie.”
Despite these assurances, I would not feel comfortable using Nomie to track things that would help to build up an extensive picture of my life, for example, what I ate and drank, how frequently I had headaches, etc. Even if they do not do so now, I suspect that in the future the developers could make money by selling aggregate data about the behaviour of their users to companies. As a result, I am very careful what I use Nomie for. Firstly, I decided straightaway that I will not use any of their pre-defined categories. Secondly, I will only use it to count things that I am comfortable in sharing with the developers, to wit the frequency with which I write and the frequency with which I do training exercises with my dogs.
With these caveats I would recommend Nomie for writers and academics who want to keep track of their productivity or need a tool to help them stay motivated.